Harrogate is located in the picturesque county of North Yorkshire, and is in close proximity to the bustling cities of Bradford and Leeds. Although the exact date is often disputed, the town rose in popularity following the discovery of the Tewit Well in 1596, and has since been considered one of England’s premier spa towns. Also renowned for its floral beauty, Harrogate won the 2003 “Britain in Bloom” contest in the “Large Town” category, as well as the European Entente Florale competition in 2004. Although the hallmark of Harrogate is its beautiful gardens and elegant architecture, the presence of the Harrogate International Centre, a number of fashionable shopping boutiques, and a wide array of excellent restaurants and hotels gives the town a modern and cosmopolitan feel that in no way diminishes its overall charm.
– Turkish Baths and Health Spa
A trip to Harrogate would be incomplete without a visit to the fully restored Turkish Baths and Health Spa. It is recommended that visitors allot one and a half hours in order to fully enjoy the benefits of the Victorian steam room, hot rooms, plunge pool, beauty treatments, and massages. It is important to note that the Turkish Baths and Health Spa are intended for adults only, and that swimwear must be worn during mixed sessions. Fresh towels are provided, and the guest need only bring personal toiletries. For more information, including hours of operation and prices, visit www.harrogate.gov.uk/immediacy-1393.
– Royal Pump Room Museum
The Royal Pump Room is considered one of Harrogate’s premier spa buildings, and is the site of several of the strongest sulfur wells in Europe. The museum tells the story of how Harrogate became a spa town, and visitors are invited to taste the water that made Harrogate famous. Additionally, the museum features exhibitions on Victorian life and Egyptology, as well as displays of Harrogate as it was in days gone by. Visit http://www.harrogate.gov.uk/immediacy-987#pump for more information on the museum’s hours and admission prices.
– Valley Gardens
Valley Gardens is listed as an English Heritage Grade II garden, and regardless of the season, it is a wonderful place to take a leisurely stroll while enjoying the beauty of nature. Opportunities for both fun and relaxation abound in Valley Gardens, and both children and adults will delight in the play areas, tennis courts, paddling pool, the Pitch and Putt golf course, crazy golf, and the boating pool. Light refreshments are available at the Magnesia Tea Room and, from Easter through September, at the Games Pavilion. More information about Valley Gardens can be found at www.harrogate.gov.uk/immediacy-3359.
– Mercer Art Gallery
Consisting mainly of 19th and 20th century works of art, the Mercer Art Gallery is the home of the district’s collection of fine art. Featuring the works of artists such as William Powell Frith, Dame Laura Knight, and Alan Davie, the Mercer changes its programs and exhibits on a regular basis. Admission to the museum is free. Visit http://www.harrogate.gov.uk/immediacy-995 for information on the Mercer Art Gallery’s hours of operation.
The Harrogate International Centre brings an influx of tourists and business people to the area throughout the year. Therefore, despite the fact that there are a wide range of accommodations available, it is advisable to plan a trip to Harrogate well in advance. From five-star hotels and luxury apartments to bed and breakfasts and self-catering options, there are accommodations available to suit every budget. In order to search for lodging either in Harrogate, or in the surrounding areas, visit www.simplyharrogate.com.
The famous Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate is always a popular favorite among tourists and locals alike, but there are countless other dining options available to visitors as well. Traditional English pubs, gourmet restaurants, charming cafes, and a wide variety of ethnic establishments help to make Harrogate the perfect location for dining out. For more information on dining establishments in Harrogate, visit www.simplyharrogate.com.
All in all, Harrogate is not only the quintessential European spa town, but it is also a wonderful base from which to explore the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and the cities of York, Leeds, and even Manchester. The perfect combination of old world charm and cosmopolitan flair, Harrogate welcomes all of its visitors with open arms, and ensures that once they depart, they will surely want to return.